Are you ready to go 360° with your brand?

If you haven’t heard of 360-degree videos yet, then fear not – you will very soon. While 360-degree videos are not new to the digital marketing scene, it can be said that they are only truly finding their feet now.

With Youtube and Facebook leading the way in terms of interactivity with these cutting-edge videos, it’s no wonder that marketers and advertising creatives all over the world are beginning to take note of 360 videos and what they can do for them.

But what is a 360 video and does your company really need one? With technology moving faster than ever, we’re here to help you keep up and answer those questions:

What is a 360-degree video?

A 360-degree video is exactly what the name suggests – a video that provides you with a 360° view of a scene. With a 360 video, the viewer can click and drag their mouse around the video screen – allowing them to view alternate angles of the shot in one smooth flow.

For mobile users, alternate angles of the video can be viewed by simply tilting their phone in the direction they wish to view. Perhaps the most immersive method for enjoying 360 video content is by viewing it with a VR headset like the Oculus Rift (one should not, however, assume 360 video is virtual reality content, it’s more of a bridge between video and virtual reality).

All of this has been made possible due to the ambitious development of the 360-degree camera and its ability to capture what is known as the ‘spherical scenario’. In simple terms, this means that the entire environment surrounding the camera is recorded, creating a more immersive experience than standard videos allow.

What is so special about a 360 video and why would my company need one?

It should be noted that 360-degree videos are not here to replace the more traditional idea of video content. In fact, they are merely here to enhance the viewing experience where appropriate.

Not every company will require a 360 video to successfully promote their product or service, but with these videos becoming increasingly accessible to users – they shouldn’t be overlooked.

How are these videos being used?

(Note: When watching Facebook 360 videos below, make sure you’re using the latest version of your Chrome or Firefox web browser and you’re logged into Facebook. 360 videos on Facebook aren’t viewable on Safari or Internet Explorer.)

The possibilities of how to utilize 360 videos are endless (which is just one of the reasons why digital marketers are getting so excited!). Some of the uses so far range from covering events (see the Jason Wu’s New York Fashion Week Show and Vogue’s Met Gala Red Carpet) to advertising a product (see L’Oréal Men ExpertNescafé):

..and promoting a TV-show (Chelsea Show) – but there really are no restrictions.

For B2B companies the 360 videos might turn even more succesful. As B2B companies rely heavily on the prominent positioning of their product or service within a specific market, 360 videos provide an invaluable opportunity for these companies to do just that.

Think of exhibitions and tradeshows where space to display products is often limited. With 360 videos, any product or service can be displayed to potential clients, regardless of its scale or geographic location.

General Electric’s use of 360 videos to provide a view of their locomotive vehiclethat previously, would have only been possible to experience in person, is a great example of B2B brand go 360°.

Tech giants pave the way

With Youtube having its own channel dedicated solely to 360-degree content, and Facebook 360 page to discover and watch 360 videos from around Facebook, videos are easy to find, share and get noticed.

Whether or not you want to invest time and money into 360-degree content though, depends mostly on the kind of staying power you believe these videos will have. In April this year, Facebook unveiled an open-source 360-degree video camera in hope of increasing the amount of 360 videos on its platform.

Furthermore, Youtube’s recent announcement of a partnership with GoPro to create a more “consumer-friendly” spherical camera will no doubt make shooting 360-degree content even more alluring to the everyday consumer. (Let’s not even start with live 360 video, YouTube’s newest feature.)

With tech giants already having invested their money ahead of the curve, we’re taking this as a strong indication that the demand for 360 video content is only set to grow.

If you are still wondering whether 360-degree content might be suited to your company, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Is our product or service something that we want to allow ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to?

One of the keys aspects of the 360 video is that it allows users to feel as though they are seeing the whole picture. While traditional ‘tricks of the trade’ in terms of framing can still be applied, it is undeniable that your product or service will be more exposed than it would be in a more conventional video.

2) Would our consumers benefit from a more interactive digital experience?

In 2016, any company answering “no” to this question might raise a few eyebrows. 360 videos don’t appear to just be a gimmick or passing trend. With Facebook already having made the videos available for video ads, the average Facebook user will soon come to expect a more interactive digital experience.

Even though 360 videos are not the only way to create this experience for users on social media, it’s certainly set to become one of the easiest and ultimately effective ways.

3) Do we want to enhance our mobile experience?

360-degree videos are even more innovative when viewed on mobile devices. Instead of the user having to drag their mouse on screen to view a different angle, mobile users merely have to tilt their screen. With support available for both Android and iOS devices, the mobile user can enjoy 360 videos wherever they are.

In addition, Google have developed their ‘Google Cardboard’ Virtual Reality headsets. These “build your own” VR headsets can be worn by mobile users wanting an additional “emotional experience” when viewing compatible apps and videos (see more here).

Google even has a project for 360° storytelling made uniquely for mobile (see Help– their first live action story).

The Bottom Line

Will your product or service suffer if you don’t start using 360-degree videos immediately? The simple answer to this question is no.

However, if recent investments by global technology brands are anything to go by, 2016’s launch of more accessible 360-degree technology will undoubtedly create a buzz. Your product or service is yours to show off, so why not do so from all angles – literally.

Watch our YouTube playlist to see even more clever ways that 360 videos are being used >

Some extra facts:

  • Youtube provides support for the uploading and playback of 360 videos on computers with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera browsers (not yet Safari)
  • Facebook provides support for the playback of 360 videos on computers with Chrome & Firefox (not yet Safari/IE)
  • To watch 360 videos on a mobile device, you can do so through the latest versions of the Facebook and Youtube mobile apps (works for both Android and iOS devices)
  • Note: Facebook recommend that your iOS device (an iPhone 4s or newer, or an iPad 2 or newer) should be running iOS 7 or later. Android devices should also be capable of running Android 4.3 or later.

Want to know more about 360 videos?

Contact me

Marjaana Laakkonen